Friday, 29 July 2011

[CPD23] Thing 9: Evernote

By nhanusek on Flickr
Evernote is something I started playing around with last week for Cam23 2.0, and I think it’s going to be very useful. I can see it coming in handy when studying for my MA next year, to keep all my notes in one place.

I’ve downloaded the desktop application, the website clipper addon and the Android app, and made a few test notes. I like that there’s an Android app, though so far I’m a bit disappointed that searching the text in the photos I’ve uploaded to experiment with hasn’t worked yet. To be fair, my phone doesn’t have a flash and I’m taking it by the rather dim light of an energy-saving light bulb, so my pictures are a bit fuzzy! I think I need to do a bit more experimenting with this.

I've been reading a few other blog entries on Evernote, and a few people have been worried about the privacy and security of having things in the cloud. I've never been too worried about this - maybe I'm being naive and foolish but for me the benefits of being able to access everything I want wherever I am far outweigh the tiny risk that someone is going to steal all my notes and photos. And if they did, then they wouldn't be getting anything that juicy to be honest, it's not as if I save my bank account details as a Google Doc...

What I've been reading in July

Graduate Traineeships and Library School

Sam Wiggins, Introducing...the World of Libraries (really useful tips aimed at future trainees, but would be of interest to library school students and other new professionals too)

Library Day in the Life

Lots and lots of people, Library Day in the Life Project, Round 7

Social Media and Technology

Laura Woods, Current Awareness, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the "Mark All As Read" Button (sound advice!)

Nicole Fonsh, Google University (what happens to libraries and library schools when a new social media platform or other disruptive technology comes along?)

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Five Things to Expect from the Amazon Kindle Tablet

S. Wade Lorenz, The internet, Web 2.0. Cloud, Marketing and Library 2.0 

Laura Wilkinson, Developing Libraries Beyond Web 2.0 

Jolie O'Dell, The State of the Tablet and eReader Market

Dave Evans, The Internet of Things [Infographic] 

Save Libraries

Ian Clark, The media love libraries - let's make the most of it! 


Helen Murphy, If Only Benedict Cumberbatch were CEO of CILIP (also known as #CPD23 Thing 7: Professional Organisations and Face-to-face Networking) As always with Helen, this is brilliant, and the comments are really interesting too)


John Kupersmith, Library Terms that Users Understand (handy for those thinking about library websites or user guides)

Ian Clark, The Decline of Murdoch - a Good Thing for the Flow of Information? 

Andy Woodworth, Filtering is for Coffee Makers, Not Libraries

And Finally...

Ned Potter, The Great Library Stereotypometer!

By KatieW on Flickr

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

[CPD23] Thing 8: Google Calendar

One of my 11 things to do in 2011 was to get into the habit of using Google Calendar to organise myself. I have an Android phone, so theoretically if I use Google Calendar as my diary, I’ll be organised and know what’s going on wherever I go!

At first I wasn't great at keeping it up-to-date, so was initially a bit hit and miss. I’ve got a trusty paper diary that lives on my desk at work, which I put everything in as it’s right there in front of me all the time at work. I found it took me a while to get into the habit of writing things down in both places, but I think I'm getting there now.

Google has made a good Calendar application that works well (despite them making it kind of ugly in it’s latest update in my opinion)

This is my calendar this month:

A bit small but you get the picture. I’ve got several different calendars on there - CPD23 (the sea of green), Cambridge Library Group, my library books feed (which I’ll come back to for the extra Thing), CCLF and courses@Cambridge. Anything I want to add which isn’t covered by these calendars is in pink, and I’ve put my colleagues’ holidays in bright yellow, and my own holidays in purple. Look at that lovely holiday coming up! As Becky points out, since their recent update there is less space in the full month view for your events, and so they tend to get reduced down to "+3 more", which is quite annoying. I prefer to see the whole month at once, so I might unsubscribe from a couple of extra calendars I added to clear space for my own events.

What I like the most about Google calendar is that it syncs to my phone, and when I have an event coming up it can give me an alarm on my phone if I want. If it’s something I really can’t miss, I can set up multiple alarms and email alerts weeks, days, hours and minutes before the event. I'm generally quite a punctual/reliable person, but I do like to have reminders for the important stuff.

Monday, 25 July 2011

#libday7 - Monday

I am taking part in the Round 7 of the Library Day in the Life project. I wrote several posts for Round 6 in January, all my Library Day in the Life posts can be found here

I am a library graduate trainee at Newnham College library in Cambridge, coming into the last month of my trainee year. As it is now the summer vacation, we have very few students in the library at the moment, but we're still busy! We've been doing the annual stockcheck for the last few weeks, and we need to get everything ready for next term.

I'm not sure how much I will blog and tweet for #libday7 this time, as I am taking part in Cam23 2.0 and CPD23 so I have a lot of blog posts to write! However here is my Library Day in the Life for today:

8.45 - Arrive at work.
Morning stuff, turn everything on, run Reporter, empty book drops (3 books back, busy day!), check emails, check Twitter, write TeuxDeux list for the week. Catch up with colleagues (Debbie's been in Italy for a week, Jo's been to the Isle of Wight for the weekend, I spent the weekend packing boxes...)

9.35 - Stock check
*beep beep beep*
Oh noes, laptop fail, I haz no screen!
*beep beep beep anyway*
I really can't see what I'm doing...
*gives up*

10.45 - Give up on stock check for now, back to the office, withdraw some books (fun ripping off labels etc.)

11.15 - Break

11.30 - Check emails. Email IT helpdesk to get someone to come and look at laptop.

11.50 - Withdraw more books (mostly out of date medical textbooks). Fingers smell all Stamp Lift-y.

12.15 - Go to Porters Lodge to get card updated for new door scanners. My card has been taken away from me, feel nekkid...

12.30 - Finished withdrawing books, put all on the sale shelf (on the way spent a good 30 seconds trying to scan empty card-holder on the card access door before realising what I was doing)

Start lyfguarding (covering paperback books in protective plastic). Had a big donation lately from a colleague who gets a lot of advance review copies.

12.56 - There's a Baroness in the library! (Actually a fairly common occurence lately)

13.00 - Lunch!

14.00 - Check emails and Twitter.

14.10 - Start work on new catalogue guide. (We've recently changed our catalogue terminals over from the University's Newton catalogue to the newer LibrarySearch site. We give out a guide to using the library catalogue during induction sessions, so this needs to be rewritten.)

14.35 - Helped a very stressed student who couldn't work out how to turn double-sided printing off for her dissertation (due at 16.00 today!)

16.05 - Break

16.20 - Back to writing the catalogue guide!

17.25 - Leave work 5 mins early as I am going to a Cam23 2.0 meet up at 6pm and the table at B Bar is booked in my name!

17.45 - Meet up with some other Cam23-ers for some drinks and a catch up.

19.15 - Heading back home, that's the end of the library part of my day today!

By Doga Ulas on Flickr

Thursday, 21 July 2011

[CPD23] Thing 7: Face-to-face networks and professional organisations

By John 'K' on Flickr
Last night I went along to the CILIP East of England meet up organised to tie in with this week's Thing. Unfortunately I'd forgotten about this when booking Harry Potter tickets for me and Rory so my appearance at the CILIP event turned into rather a flying visit!

Somewhat ironically, the majority of people wrote their Twitter username on their name sticker, which I was glad of in a few cases because most of my networking tends to be keyboard-to-keyboard rather than face-to-face! However I think I knew most of the people there from CILIP and Cambridge Library Group events anyway.

I'm a member of both of these organisations, and have found both, but especially CLG, useful ways to get to know and (that dreaded word) network with other librarians. I say especially CLG because the main CILIP events I've been to have been in London and Manchester, and I've found getting to know the librarians who live and work nearby in Cambridge has been more practically useful right now.

Representatives from various CILIP groups were at the event, and I had an interesting talk with Jo, Charlotte and Jen about CILIP branches and groups, and being on committees. I'd quite like to get involved more and sit on a committee. I thought about it this year but knew I'd be off to somewhere else in September so didn't want to sign up and then flake out when I moved away. But it's definitely something I could imagine doing in a year or so.

The other network I'm part of is LISNPN, but so far my involvement with that has been entirely online, I'm sorry to say I haven't made one of their face-to-face events yet. Okay, this is a resolution for next year, to go to a LISNPN event!

On the whole I think I do okay with 'real life' networks and organisations. My natural tendency at networking events is to be a bit of a wall flower, but I've found chatting to people beforehand on Twitter to be a good icebreaker when I meet them face-to-face. Online and offline networking complement each other quite a bit really, and I wouldn't want it to be a case of one or the other.

(In other news I really liked the film. Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith were both knock-out and yes, I cried!)

Two Library Visits

Doing CPD23 and Cam23 2.0 is great, but it's taking up lots of my blogging energy! Therefore I'm afraid to say I'm going to lump two really interesting library visits into one post.

Cambridge Careers Service Library
At the New Professionals Conference, one of the papers I found really interesting was Megan Wiley's on the challenges of being a librarian in Careers Services. I'd not heard much about this area of librarianship before, or really considered it at all. I'm not sure why, since a couple of people have suggested in the past that I'd be a good careers advisor! After the conference I was interested to learn more, so when I got back to Cambridge I asked Maria Giovanna, Information Assistant at the Cambridge Careers Library, if I could come and have a look round her library. So last month (I told you I was behind on normal blogging!) I headed over to Mill Lane to the Careers Centre, and was given a lovely tour of the library there.

The resources in the library are arranged by a specialist class system for careers libraries AGCAS, organising the resources in a kind of chronological way, so as students go through the process of deciding what area they'd be suited to working in, then researching specific jobs and companies, and then reading about interview technique etc., they resources are laid out in a logical way. The upper floor of the library has these resources with plenty of work space for students to sit and read. Downstairs is an area with computers.

In Megan's paper she talked about the challenges of working alongside non-librarians who might not know what the library staff do, and therefore their information skills are being undervalued or ignored. I asked Maria Giovanna about this and she said communication can sometimes be an issue for them in Cambridge as well. I think in any library it's important to know what colleagues are working on, but I'd imagine this can be especially difficult when the people you are working with aren't librarians themselves! We also talked about communicating with students. Like @NewnhamLibrary, the careers library have recently started tweeting as @camcareerslib, so it was great to compare notes on our experiences!

It was really interesting to look around the library and chat with Maria Giovanna, and especially to see that while it's a different type of library to my own, with a different purpose, a lot of the challenges we have are the same.

Libraries@Cambridge have got a set of photos of the Careers Service Library up on their Flickr page, here.

Sir Harry Smith Community College Library
This week Jen and I took a road trip to Whittlesey, guided by her Darth Vader sat nav! ("I sense an exit coming up." "In 800 yards turn left. Do not break formation.""You have reached your destination....but you are not a Jedi yet." etc.) We were going to meet James Curtis, who will be on the UCL course with us next year. He'd kindly agreed to show us round the library where he works, in a secondary school.

Again, this is a type of library I'd not visited before. We've seen lots of academic libraries, but all have been in universities, so I'd been looking forward to seeing a school library. It's certainly different! Teaching was another career path I considered, but rejected because realistically I would never be able to deal with a class full of 30 kids if they chose to riot! I think I'd have the same problem if I was a librarian in a school. Crowd control's not my bag, baby! (Obviously when I end up applying for a school librarian post in a few year's time I'll delete this post and replace it with a link to my new book: "Crowd Control and me: this sort of thing is my bag, baby!"

What I found most interesting about James's job was the fact that his role includes quite a lot of stuff outside of the library, including primary-to-secondary transition. Since the library has close links with the English department he gets to take school trips to the theatre too! The librarian is also the careers advisor for the school so there was a careers section in the library.

Something I would really enjoy about being a school librarian is shadowing awards such as the Carnegie with students. (I really enjoyed going through Carnegie lists with my librarian as a student in fact!) I would also love to have the budgetary freedom James has!

It sounds a bit silly, obviously I've been in school libraries when I was at school, but I have to admit I didn't think too much about the librarians and what they were doing besides keeping a seat warm and yelling at us periodically! So it was good to look around a school library from a librarian's perspective - and it was great to get to know one of our fellow UCL-ers a bit more!

Monday, 18 July 2011

[CPD23] Thing 6: Online Networks

So this week I've done a further forray into different online networks. At the moment the two online networks I mostly use are Twitter and Facebook. When I created my Twitter account I originally tended to use each for a different purpose - Twitter for library stuff and Facebook for personal stuff. There's now a blurry line between professional and personal for me, although this blurriness shows up more on my Twitter profile (where I will frequently end up talking about Game of Thrones, picnics, and most recently, Alan Rickman) than on my Facebook wall. Actually this has resulted in me using Facebook less and less over the last year. I'm also a member of LISNPN. I don't spend a lot of time on the LISNPN website, but follow forum discussions via RSS feeds, and then go to the site if something catches my interest.

For the Thing this week I'll stick to blogging about the online networks I use for professional purposes, so I'll ignore Facebook. I've talked about Twitter a lot before, so here are my thoughts on LinkedIn and LISNPN!

I've been feeling like I should have a profile on LinkedIn for a while now, and this Thing gave me the prod I needed to actually sign up. So here's my new LinkedIn profile, ta dah! I have to say I've found it a bit frustrating to edit so far. I uploaded my CV, but then had to edit it quite a bit as it didn't manage to extract everything I wanted on there. As I've been manually editing previous positions I've held, for some reason it keeps deleting the websites of the places I've worked in which is a bit baffling.

I'll have to spend a bit more time on my profile to get it looking how I want it, but I've got the basics on there for now. I'll have to snoop around a bit to check what the etiquette is on adding people to my network. If I know someone on Twitter is that a close enough connection to add them to my LinkedIn? Should I add fellow University of Cambridge librarians as "colleagues" or "friends"? I can definitely see the uses though. I've only joined the CPD23 and CILIP groups so far but there seems to be a fairly lively discussion going on in both those groups.

I signed up for LISNPN in September, on recommendation by Sarah, my predecessor at Newnham. I'll be imitating her and recommending it to next year's trainee! The resources section alone makes it totally worth while joining, as there's a really useful collection of anonymous reviews of library degree courses, example chartership portfolios, and guides on everything from using Twitter to getting published. There are regular LISNPN meetups (I am ashamed to say I have yet to make it to one of these!), which often tie in with conferences and other events. The forums can be a bit hit and miss (a #cliquegate thread was very popular, but other threads can be very quiet) but occasionally they will feature an interview with stars of the library world (so far the CILIP vice presidential candidates from the last election, and US librarians Bobbi Newman, Andy Woodworth and Buffy Hamilton).

Considering this is a fairly fledgling network, I think LISNPN has done very well to become such a useful resource so quickly. What would make it really great would be if the forum discussion was a bit more active, but having run a forum myself in the past I know very well this isn't something you can just snap your fingers and make happen!

I've heard it said that to improve your "brand" you should have a presence on as many social networks as possible. I disagree with this viewpoint - I'd much rather have a strong, consistent presence on a couple of online networks than (as would inevitably happen) have a patchy, irregularly update presence on a lot of networks. I simply don't have the time to be all shiny and up-to-date and professional on a lot of sites, and it's partly for that reason that I haven't begged an invite for Google+ yet. For the moment I'm quite happy with my existing networks, and I'll have to see if LinkedIn proves useful enough to elbow its way into the mix!

Monday, 11 July 2011

[CPD23] Thing 5: Reflective Practice

Reflective thinking or reflective writing is something I've not had any instruction or workshops on. When I am writing for my blog I have quite often rattled off a blog post about an event I've been to or a library I've visited, hit publish and then wished I'd said less about the "what" I did and more about the "so what" and the "now what". Sometimes I do good, but I think my reflective writing is pretty fragmented.
By arielp on Flickr
As I've said before, I see CPD23 as a really good opportunity to remedy this, and improve my reflective writing. I don't think I've been all that successful so far, as planning a house move and getting Cam23 2.0 up and running have meant I've not had as much time as I'd have liked for blogging, and I end up like I am tonight, dashing off several posts in one evening in a desperate bid to catch up with CPD23 and Cam23 2.0! I'm going to try my best not to get too far behind, as the reflective part of the exercise is sure to suffer if I do.

However I'm really enjoying taking part in the programme so far, and have read some great new blogs. The Thing I've found the most useful so far was considering my personal brand. It's things like that which I often need a little kick up the bum to make me sit and think about properly, and CPD23 has been just that kick!

[CPD23] Thing 4: Current Awareness

I wrote the instructions for Thing 4, so I've got no "if it all goes horribly wrong, blame the instructions" option! I'm a bit behind as I had an interview last week, so prep for that took priority. But I suppose since I've already written a few blog posts on this, I should be able to speed through this one and catch up again!

Before I wrote the post for the CPD23 blog, I'd already been using Twitter for a while, and had been subscribing to RSS feeds using Google Reader for a long while. I find both incredibly useful, and have been recommending them to people all over the place.

By robpatrick on Flickr
Being connected and being aware of current goings-on in the library world is important to me, not least because the job market is so rubbish so I know I'm going to have to really fight to get a job after my MA. Having a network of smart librarians on Twitter means I can get almost all of my up-to-the-minute news in one place, with blogs and news sites feeding more in depth posts and articles to my Google Reader. Huzzah!

Although I haven't been using Twitter as long as I've been using Google Reader, I've kind of stuck to the basics with Reader, while I've been using a lot of third party apps and tools with Twitter such as Hootsuite, twitterfeed, the archivist and futuretweets.

Having read Erin's post on this Thing, I'm definitely going to try out some more of the sharing functionality on Reader, and have a shot at Supercharging Google Reader.

Pushnote is something I hadn't used before CPD23. I knew it came on Stephen Fry's recommendation, but not too much more than that! When I was trying this out before writing the instructions, only one other of my Twitter/Facebook friends (Erin again!) had a Pushnote account. I was looking forward to the moment when hordes of CPD23ers would join and start sharing links. Since last week I'm now following a lot more people on Pushnote, and have found several new-to-me sites (worth it just for EchoBazaar alone!) which have been shared. However Pushnote is still in beta, and I think it has a few kinks that needs to be ironed out before it will be a really useful tool. At the moment it seems that friends' shared links and comments don't always show up when clicking on the star, although I think all are appearing on the Pushnote home page. Hopefully they'll get the kinks sorted out! I might try it again in 6 months or something. At the moment Twitter and RSS serve my current awareness needs, so I'm happy!